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What S Wrong With Benevolence

Author: David Stove
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 1594035237
Size: 18.76 MB
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Is benevolence a virtue? In many cases it appears to be so. But when it comes to the "enlarged benevolence” of the Enlightenment, David Stove argues that the answer is clearly no. In this insightful, provocative essay, Stove builds a case for the claim that when benevolence is universal, disinterested and external, it regularly leads to the forced redistribution of wealth, which in turn leads to decreased economic incentives, lower rates of productivity, and increased poverty. As Stove points out, there is an air of paradox in saying that benevolence may be a cause of poverty. But there shouldn’t be. Good intentions alone are never sufficient to guarantee the success of one’s endeavors. Utopian schemes to reorganize the world have regularly ended in failure. Easily the most important example of this phenomenon is twentieth-century communism. As Stove reminds us, the attractiveness of communism--the "emotional fuel” of communist revolutionaries for over a hundred years--has always been "exactly the same as the emotional fuel of every other utopianism: the passionate desire to alleviate or abolish misery.” Yet communism was such a monumental failure that millions of people today are still suffering its consequences. In this most prescient of essays, Stove warns contemporary readers just how seductive universal political benevolence can be. He also shows how the failure to understand the connection between benevolence and communism has led to many of the greatest social miseries of our age.

Darwinian Fairytales

Author: David Stove
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 1594033013
Size: 55.28 MB
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Whatever your opinion of ‘Intelligent Design,’ you’ll find Stove’s criticism of what he calls ‘Darwinism’ difficult to stop reading. Stove’s blistering attack on Richard Dawkins’ ‘selfish genes’ and ‘memes’ is unparalleled and unrelenting. A discussion of spiders who mimic bird droppings is alone worth the price of the book. Darwinian Fairytales should be read and pondered by anyone interested in sociobiology, the origin of altruism, and the awesome process of evolution. --Martin Gardner, author of Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?: Debunking Pseudoscience

Against The Idols Of The Age

Author: David Stove
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351533371
Size: 66.19 MB
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Little known outside his native Australia, David Stove was one of the most illuminating and brilliant philo-sophical essayists of the postwar era. A fearless at-tacker of intellectual and cultural orthodoxies, Stove left powerful critiques of scientific irrationalism, Dar-winian theories of human behavior, and philosophi-cal idealism. He was also an occasional essayist of considerable charm and polemical snap. Stove's writ-ing is both rigorous and immensely readable. It is, in the words of Roger Kimball, "an invigorating blend of analytic lucidity, mordant humor, and an amount of common sense too great to be called 'common.'" Against the Idols of the Age brings together a repre-sentative selection of Stove's writing and is an ideal introduction to his work.The book opens with some of Stove's most impor-tant attacks on irrationalism in the philosophy of sci-ence. He exposes the roots of this fashionable attitude, tracing it through writers like Paul Feyerabend andThomas Kuhn to Karl Popper. Stove was a born controversialist, so it is not surpris-ing that when he turned his attention to contemporary affairs he said things that are politically incorrect. The topical essays that make up the second part of the book show Stove at his most withering and combative. Whether the subject is race, femi-nism, the Enlightenment, or the demand for "non-coercive philosophy," Stove is on the mark with a battery of impressive arguments expressed in sharp, uncompromis-ing prose. Against the Idols of the Age concludes with a generous sampling of his blistering attacks on Darwinism.David Stove's writings are an undiscovered treasure. Although readers may dis-agree with some of his opinions, they will find it difficult to dismiss his razor-sharp arguments. Against the Idols of the Age is the first book to make the full range of this important thinker available to the general reader.

The Plato Cult

Author: David Stove
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 9780631177098
Size: 29.13 MB
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This is a book of philosophy, written by a philosopher and intended for anyone who knows enough philosophy to have been seriously injured, antagonised, mystified or intoxicated by it. Stove is passionately polemical, a philosophical counterpart to Tom Wolfe. Setting out to deflate a few philosophical reputations, he lambastes both the dead (Plato, Hegel, Kant, Foucault) and the living (Popper, Nozick, Feyerabend, Goodman). Yet he says things that need to be said, and that others often lack the courage to say.

On Enlightenment

Author: David Stove
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351502239
Size: 19.37 MB
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The idea of enlightenment entails liberty, equality, rationalism, secularism, and the connection between knowledge and well being. In spite of the setbacks of revolutionary violence, mass murder, and two world wars, the spread of enlightenment values is still the yardstick by which moral, political, and scientific advances are measured. In On Enlightenment, David Stove attacks the roots of enlightenment thought to define its successes, limitations, and areas of likely failures. Stove champions the use of reason and recognizes the falsity of religious claims as well as the importance of individual liberty. He rejects the enlightenment's uncritical optimism regarding social progress and its willingness to embrace revolutionary change. What evidence is there that the elimination of superstition will lead to happiness? Or that it is possible to accept Darwinism without Social Darwinism? Or that the enlightenment's liberal, rationalistic outlook will lead to the social progress envisioned by its advocates? Despite best intentions, says Stove, social reformers who attempt to improve the world inevitably make things worse. He advocates a conservative approach to change, pointing out that social structures are so large and complex that any widespread social reform will have innumerable unforeseen consequences. Writing in the tradition of Edmund Burke with the same passion for clarity and intellectual honesty as George Orwell, David Stove was one of the most articulate and insightful philosophers of his day.

Dialectic Of Enlightenment

Author: Max Horkheimer
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 080478809X
Size: 46.30 MB
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Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism." Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle against natural forces, as represented in myths, are connected in a wide arch to the most threatening experiences of the present. The book consists in five chapters, at first glance unconnected, together with a number of shorter notes. The various analyses concern such phenomena as the detachment of science from practical life, formalized morality, the manipulative nature of entertainment culture, and a paranoid behavioral structure, expressed in aggressive anti-Semitism, that marks the limits of enlightenment. The authors perceive a common element in these phenomena, the tendency toward self-destruction of the guiding criteria inherent in enlightenment thought from the beginning. Using historical analyses to elucidate the present, they show, against the background of a prehistory of subjectivity, why the National Socialist terror was not an aberration of modern history but was rooted deeply in the fundamental characteristics of Western civilization. Adorno and Horkheimer see the self-destruction of Western reason as grounded in a historical and fateful dialectic between the domination of external nature and society. They trace enlightenment, which split these spheres apart, back to its mythical roots. Enlightenment and myth, therefore, are not irreconcilable opposites, but dialectically mediated qualities of both real and intellectual life. "Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology." This paradox is the fundamental thesis of the book. This new translation, based on the text in the complete edition of the works of Max Horkheimer, contains textual variants, commentary upon them, and an editorial discussion of the position of this work in the development of Critical Theory.

Scientific Irrationalism

Author: David Charles Stove
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
ISBN: 9780765800633
Size: 19.27 MB
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"With a combination of dazzling philosophical acumen and scarifying wit, Stove does for irrationalism in the philosophy of science what the Romans did for Carthage in the Third Punic War. He assaults and destroys it utterly. It has been a long time since I have read a book of philosophy as entertaining and illuminating." -Roger Kimball, The New Criterion Little known outside his native Australia, David Stove was one of the most illuminating and brilliant philosophical essayists of his era. A fearless attacker of intellectual and cultural orthodoxies, Stove left powerful critiques of scientific irrationalism, Darwinian theories of human behavior, and philosophical idealism. Since its inception in the 1940s, the firld of science studies, originally intended to bridge the gap between science and the humanities, has been the center of controversy and debate. The most notable figures in this debate are Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. In Scientific Irrationalism: Origins of a Postmodern Cult, David Stove demonstrates how extravagant has been the verbiage wasted on this issue and how irrational the combatants. He shows that Kuhn and Popper share considerable common ground. Stove argues that the problems all reside in the reasoning of the critics. He identifies the logical mistakes by and conceptual elisions made by Kuhn and Popper and their supporters, as well as their collective dependency on a single argument made by the philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment, David Hume. He then demonstrates how little potency that argument actually has for the claims of science. In his foreword, Keith Windschuttle explains the history of the debate surrounding the field of science studies and explores David Stove's contribution and his lack of recognition for that contribution. In an afterword, James Franklin discusses reactions to Stove's work. This book will be of interest to scientists, philosophers, and general readers. David Charles Stove (1927-1994) taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales and, until his retirement in 1988, at the University of Sydney. He was the author of numerous essays, articles, and many books including Against the Idols of the Age, The Plato Cult and Other Intellectual Follies, and two posthumously published volumes, Darwinian Fairytales, and Cricket versus Republicanism. "...this book certainly broaches current topics in the philosophy of science with provocative arguments. It also contains a clear introduction by Keith Windschuttle and an interesting summary by James Franklin..."-Choice

Treason Of The Heart

Author: David Pryce-Jones
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 1594035490
Size: 49.11 MB
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Treason of the Heart is an account of British people who took up foreign causes. Not mercenaries, then, but ideologues. Almost all were what today we would call radicals or activists, who thought they knew better than whichever bunch of backward or oppressed people it was that they had come to save. Usually they were applying to others what they saw as the benefits of their culture, and so obviously meritorious was their culture that they were prepared to be violent in imposing it. Some genuinely hated their own country, however, and saw themselves promoting abroad the values their own retrograde government was blocking. The book deals with those like Thomas Paine who saw American independence as the surest means to hurt England; the many who hoped to spread the French revolution and then have Napoleon conquer England; historic characters like Lord Byron and Lawrence of Arabia who fought for the causes that brought them glory; finally those who took up Communism or Nazism. Treason of the Heart is nothing less than the tale of intellectuals deluded about the effect of what they are doing – and therefore with immediate reference to today’s world.